Purdue pitcher Ricky Heines went the distance, remaining on the mound for all nine innings as he tossed a five-hit shutout to record the complete-game victory. Georgia's Jason Leaver, by contrast, did not make it out of the second inning, as he faced 10 batters, walking three and striking out none while surrendering three earned runs. While Leaver's relievers, Justin Earls and Stephen Dodson, between them allowed just three hits and one run in over seven innings' worth of work, the damage had been done and the Diamond Dogs were doomed.
The game began with a Jordan Comadena walk. The Purdue left fielder found his way to third base on a Bulldog error, so, when Ryne White grounded into a double play, Comadena scored an unearned run to give the visiting team the lead. The Diamond Dogs were unable to answer, as Matt Cerione's leadoff single came to naught when the Red and Black right fielder was caught stealing and his teammates went quietly in the bottom of the first inning.
So I got up and strolled over to the other side of the cantina. I asked the guy, "Why you so fly?" He said, "Jordan Comadena."
Purdue went back on the offensive in the second stanza, commencing with consecutive bases on balls awarded to Andy Preston and Jeff Mojzik to lead off the inning. A passed ball advanced both baserunners, enabling John Cummins to bring home a run on a sacrifice fly and Jon Moore to plate another with a base hit to center field. Moore was caught stealing at second base, but, after being hit by a pitch, Kyle Reesing was successful in his steal attempt.
This opened the door for Comadena, whose double to left field brought Reesing home to score and chased Leaver from the game. Earls came on and induced Spencer Ingaldson to pop up to end the inning, but not before the Boilermakers had built a 4-0 lead.
By this juncture, the lion's share of the offense had already come to pass, as the game shifted into a decidedly defensive mode. No Bulldog reached base in the bottom of the second inning and the third inning passed without additional hits by either team. The fourth frame was only mildly more exciting, as a Georgia error in the top of the inning allowed Mojzik to reach first base and Jonathan Wyatt punched a single into center field during the home team's turn at bat.
On Saturday, the Mojzik had their best outing since being vanquished and cast into a parallel dimension by their sworn enemies, the Scaramalons, in a 1983 episode of "Doctor Who."
Ingaldson answered the Bulldog center fielder with a base hit of his own in the top of the fifth inning, but he, too, was left stranded on the basepaths. The Red and Black went hitless in the bottom of the frame. A Preston walk and a Cerione single were all either team had to show for the sixth stanza.
The seventh inning saw additional fireworks when Reesing led off with a base hit to left field. Dodson picked off the Purdue second baseman at first, only to award that base to Comadena by walking him and move the Boilermaker left fielder to second on a balk. This turn of events enabled White to score Comadena on a right field single to pad the visitors' lead.
A flyout, a pop-up, and a groundout were all the Diamond Dogs had to show for the bottom of the seventh inning. Preston led off the eighth by taking first base on an error and the pinch runner who replaced him on the basepaths, Carlos Pupo, took second on a sacrifice and third on a passed ball, but he did not make it as far as home plate.
Carlos Pupo has been much more effective as a pinch runner since coming out of the larval stage. (Photograph from Florida Museum of Natural History.)
Rather than go gentle into that good night, the Red and Black raged, raged against the dying of the light. Ryan Peisel led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a base hit and worked his way from station to station, only to be out at home while attempting to score. That proved to be the Diamond Dogs' last gasp; after allowing Comadena to reach first base on an error in the top of the ninth frame, the home team succeeded in getting a baserunner only as far as first in the bottom of the inning.
Each team tallied five hits, but Georgia ended up on the wrong end of the rest of the box score, amassing zero runs to the Boilermakers' five and committing four errors to Purdue's none. The silver lining is that the Diamond Dogs' relief pitching fared fairly well, which represents a distinct improvement over the team's first few outings. Unfortunately, on this occasion, the Red and Black's starting pitching did not hold up, resulting in the home team's fourth loss in its first six contests.